The Resilience Project

TRP@HOME Spotlight



Newsletter Issue 14 (31 August 2023)


The wellbeing, inclusion, protection and safety of all children is integral to student wellbeing at St. John’s.  To support a consistent approach to Behaviour Support at St. John’s, the staff have developed a response process to ensure that every child may feel happy and safe at school which in turn, leads to children becoming ready to learn. 


In conjunction with our work on The Resilience Project, our Berry Street "trauma informed practice" informs our Behaviour Support approach to uphold the dignity of all children. As educators, we situate all children in our learning community on a continuum of learning. 

This is also true of children who are at different stages of learning about self-regulation, impulse control and social awareness.  We acknowledge that the development of the child’s brain occurs over time.  As a result, rational decision making in a moment of dysregulation is not always possible for some children and it is this aspect of child development that sees children occasionally exhibit unexpected and sometimes, anti-social or impulsive behaviours that can adversely impact another child or adult. We acknowledge that it is not possible for children to think like adults in these moments.  What we do know is that most children require explicit teaching of acceptable, pro-social behaviours. We recognise that this type of learning is ongoing.  One learning conversation between a child and an educator to address an adverse behaviour generally will not miraculously change behaviour immediately.  Any kind of behaviour is a habit.  If an individual exhibits behaviours that are not acceptable, changing this habit will take time and effort from the individual and the individual’s support network ie. their family and their school community.  With this in mind, we, as adults, must remember that children are learning in this regard and therefore, we must speak of them with kindness in this knowledge. 


As a caring and faith filled community, we work together in support of our children as they navigate this important life learning, acknowledging that the social development of children globally was severely interrupted over a considerable amount of time during the Covid pandemic.  At St. John’s, we see our children interacting and engaging in learning about behaviour every day and our educators work tirelessly to support all children who are impacted by or who are exhibiting adverse behaviours. 


We understand the frustration that families feel when their child is impacted by the adverse behaviour of others.  In these moments, it’s important for us all to address these concerns with a community focus. Supporting individual children to engage respectfully in the community is the goal. Adverse behaviours are always followed by natural consequences arising from the situation and as adults, implementing a measured approach to working through this with children is the most effective pathway. 


The educators explicitly teach children the Ways of Working and what these look like, sound like and feel like in the Hubs and on the yard, in addition to teaching respectful relationships.  The educators are also working hard to build up each child’s emotional literacy to use language to express their feelings rather than expressing these emotions physically or verbally using unkind words or gestures. 


The Behaviour Support Response has deliberately been developed in three versions (Staff, Junior P-2, Senior 3-6) and will be explicitly taught in all Hubs during the WOW weeks at the beginning of Term 4.  We strongly encourage all families to discuss the Behaviour Support Response process with your children to support the school to implement a consistent approach, enabling all children to learn appropriate, pro-social behaviours, which in turn leads to respectful relationships and opportunities for improved learning outcomes. 



Karen Dodemaide 

Co-Deputy Principal and Wellbeing Leader 


Newsletter Issue 13 (17 August 2023)

Newsletter Issue 12 (3 August 2023)


Newsletter Issue 11 (21 July 2023)


This term, all levels at St John’s are focussing on Respectful Relationships and how we can use our emotional literacy and emotional intelligence to live harmoniously with one another. An important skill to develop to help us achieve this is the development of Empathy - a Key GEM principle of The Resilience Project. 


This next presentation from Hugh and Martin at The Resilience Project is all about Empathy and Kindness. 

Empathy is our ability to put ourselves in the shoes of others to feel and see what they do. We practice this through being kind and compassionate towards other people.

Brain imaging data shows that being kind to others registers in the brain as more like eating chocolate than like fulfilling an obligation to do what’s right (e.g. eating brussel sprouts)!


Research shows that practicing empathy, such as performing acts of kindness, taps into our brain’s ‘mirror neurons’, builds compassion and our behaviour becomes more social and community-based.


View Part 3 of the series here: 

Part 3 - Empathy:

Here’s an activity to practise empathy and kindness:

  1. Reflect on someone in your life who could benefit from an act of kindness today. It could be a friend who would love some affirmation about their work, your pet who deserves an extra treat, or a family member who would love a phone call or text message.
  2. Make a plan for who you are going to give an act of kindness to, and what you are going to do.
  3. If you want to add accountability to your plan, share it with someone else and encourage them to do the same thing.
  4. Follow up with each other in a few days time, to ask how it went!

Sources:Psychology Today,UC Berkeley, Greater Good Science


For mental health resources and support information, visitThe Resilience Project’s Support Page.


Update - What’s happening in the Hubs about The Resilience Project



Some images that highlight what the children have been working on in their learning across the school for The Resilience Project. 






The form should take less than 2 minutes to complete.  We appreciate your time to provide us with this important information.


Newsletter Issue 10 (22 June 2023)


As we prepare to commence our mid-year break, we circle back to the concept of Gratitude and ask our families to support your child to continue to engage in the practice of expressing or demonstrating gratitude over the holidays. 


This week’s presentation fromThe Resilience Project focuses on Gratitude.


Gratitude is paying attention to the things that we have right now, and not worrying about what we don’t have. We practise this by noticing the positives that exist around us.


Research shows that practicing gratitude rewires our brains to overcome the negativity bias (which can lead to anxiety and depression) and see the world for what we are thankful for. It is also shown to broaden thinking, and increase physical health through improved sleep and attitude to exercise.


View Part 2 of the series here:

Part 2 - Gratitude:


There are many ways in which you can practise gratitude, including starting a gratitude journal. You can simply use a notebook to list three things that went well for you each day, or use a more comprehensive Wellbeing Journal ,  like those created by The Resilience Project.


Source:Psychology Today


For mental health resources and support information, visit The Resilience Project’s Support Page.


Update - What’s happening in the Hubs about The Resilience Project


This term, the Hubs have been working on building up a bank of strategies to support their capacity to be resilient.  This has mostly taken place during the Ready To Learn routines so that the children associate the practices of expressing and demonstrating Gratitude, Empathy and Mindfulness with the practice of bringing our minds and bodies into the present with calmness so that we can be ready to learn. 


We ask families to complete a short feedback form for us to monitor the effectiveness of The Resilience Project at St. John’s.  The Resilience Project has been an important part of our Personal and Social Capability Curriculum this year. 


We would like to know your thoughts.


The form should take less than 2 minutes to complete.  We appreciate the time to provide us with this important information. 


Have a wonderful and restful holiday. 


Newsletter Issue 9 (8 June 2023)



Newsletter Issue 8 (25 May 2023)


This week I wish to highlight some sobering research from NAPCAN.

To thrive, every one of us needs connection, belonging and safety, particularly when we are young and our growing brains are setting up the foundations for future life.


The sobering results of the Australian Child Maltreatment Study show that approximately 6 out of 10 Australians have experienced maltreatment as a child and at least half of these are experiencing ongoing mental health challenges as a result.

This new evidence is a wake-up call for transformational change, where we collectively recognise that: 

  1. Child abuse impacts the whole community and needs to be seen as a national priority
  2. Together we can (and must) prevent child abuse

As the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect, NAPCAN knows that when we invest in children and families we can create safer, healthier communities now and into the future. 


Let’s use the strong evidence of the Australian Child Maltreatment Study to work together to prevent child abuse and reduce the associated health risks.

Find out more at



Visit the Inspire Parent /Carer Hub for helpful information and resources to support you to help your child to develop resilience. 

What is happening in the Hubs about The Resilience Project?

The children and educators continue to practise the GEM principles in demonstrating gratitude, empathy and mindfulness as The Resilience Project continues to be integrated into the Ready to Learn routines in the Hubs.  The GEM chats in the senior classes are providing opportunities for insightful conversations about what it means to be resilient and the dispositions that help to promote resilience. The juniors are exploring their personal strengths and how working on these can help us to feel confident and resilient. 


Karen Dodemaide

Co-Deputy Principal & Student Wellbeing

Newsletter Issue 6 (27 April 2023)

This week we spotlight the video from Martin Heppell (above) about Mindfulness.  

Martin is an associate of Hugh Van Cuylenburg at The Resilience Project. He was a former AFL footballer who played for St. Kilda and Melbourne. The research is clear that taking the time to be mindful in your day can have a positive effect on your health and wellbeing leading to increased life satisfaction. Modelling mindfulness and engaging in mindful activities with our children demonstrates to them that we value ‘slowing down’  and taking care of our mental health. Discussing how being mindful makes you feel can support your child to embed this habit for their own benefit. Knowing when and how to be mindful also has a significant impact on behaviour and can help in reducing the frequency of dysregulated behaviour.  Being mindful is important in supporting personal mental health. This is especially important as children begin to identify and articulate when they are not feeling good in themselves and need some time to find peace and calmness.  We can teach our children this important life strategy, leading to the development of resilient children. 


The video can be found in the link above

Update - What’s happening in the Hubs about The Resilience Project

This term the Hubs will be focussing on strategies to support the development of Resilience.  The children will be using their Resilience Project Journals to explore the key GEM principles: Gratitude, Empathy & Mindfulness. 

We will also be including family activities in future newsletters that families can do together to strengthen understanding of these concepts as well as being an enjoyable way to spend time together as a family. 




From Newsletter Issue 5 (30 Mar 2023)


This week we spotlight a video from Hugh van Cuylenburg.  Hugh speaks about adversity and how this can be useful to the development of resilience in children.  As parents, we have an important role to play in supporting our children to work through adversity without denying them of the learning experience which in turn, will incrementally set children up to be well equipped to manage subsequent challenges in their lives as their issues and challenges become more complex as they age. 

The video can be found in the link/image above. 



Update - What’s happening in the Hubs about The Resilience Project. 

Last week, Luke from the Resilience Project worked with the teachers to unpack a snapshot of our Resilience data gathered from the Resilient Youth Survey undertaken by students in Grades 3 - 6. The staff explored ways to infuse resilience and coping strategies into our daily practice in line with TRP Curriculum.  The Hub Educators participated in deep conversations about what we are noticing relating to the wellbeing of our children and discussed ways to incorporate the Resilience Project into our Ready to Learn daily routines. Next term we look forward to contextualising The Resilience Project Curriculum to our St. John’s School context and sharing these learnings and strategies with our families. 


From Newsletter Issue 4 (16 Mar 2023)



This week we spotlight the video from Hugh van Cuylenburg about Empathy.  The research is clear that daily expressions of kindness have a significant benefit for the giver with the release of oxytocin ( the hormone that helps us to feel love ). Exhibiting ‘Random Acts of Kindness” has benefits for both the receiver and the giver. Modeling this to our children and ‘thinking out loud’ as we do it, supports our children to understand the practical benefits of being kind (which is one of our key Ways of Working at St. John’s).  Discussing how it makes us feel to do kind things for others lets them know that this is a habit or action to be valued and it benefits everyone. Being kind is also very important in supporting a person’s personal mental health. Supporting children to think of others before themselves can help them to tune into what it means to an empathetic person and to imagine an experience from another person’s perspective. This is especially important as children learn conflict resolution skills and develop close interpersonal relationships with their friends.  We can teach our children this effective strategy, leading to the development of resilient children. 


Update - What’s happening in the Hubs about The Resilience Project. 

Next week, Luke from the Resilience Project will be working with the teachers to guide us in the development of Teaching and Learning Curriculum using The Resilience Project resources.  The Hub Educators have completed the introductory sessions and the children are currently learning about recognising and expressing emotions.  This skill becomes more complex as children age and building emotional literacy becomes a core component in supporting our children to develop and sustain positive relationships and effective communication. 


The video can be found in the link at the top of the page 

From Newsletter Issue 3 (2 Mar 2023)


This week we spotlight the video from Hugh van Cuylenburg about Gratitude.  The research is clear that daily expressions of gratitude create habits that enable us to begin scanning our world for positives.  When we model this to our children and when we ‘think out loud’ as we do it, our children can hear our reasoning and process why this practice is beneficial in supporting their mental health.  We can teach our children this effective strategy, leading to the development of resilient children. 

The video can be found in the link above. 

Update - What’s happening in the Hubs about The Resilience Project

The children in your child’s Hub have been engaging with the introductory videos and the learning activities that provide the Big Picture understanding of the program and the GEM (Gratitude, Empathy & Mindfulness) key principles. 


Ask your child what they have learned about The Resilience Project so far. Continue to encourage your child to practice the GEM strategies everyday. Keeping a gratitude folder in your photos app on your phone is a great way to remind yourself of all of everything that you feel grateful for.  

(And children love scrolling through photos on mum and dad’s phone).  What a great opportunity to start a conversation about gratitude and why your chosen photos make you feel grateful.


From Newsletter Issue 2 (16 Feb 2023)

Please take a look at this introductory video from Hugh van Cuylenburg to give some insights about modeling practices to our children that we use to support our own mental health and wellbeing.  Hugh will introduce you to the stories that have been the springboard of the great work that is The Resilience Project. 


The video can be found in the link above. 


Children learn from watching as much as they learn from conversations and the explicit teaching that we engage in together.  When you are regulating your emotions, help your child to recognise what is happening for you by naming how you are feeling and what strategies may help you to calm yourself. 


In this presentation, Hugh shares a personal experience about his sister's battles with Mental Illness.


Note: This video contains a story about an Eating Disorder that may be triggering. Please consider this before watching.


Update - What’s happening in the Hubs about The Resilience Project. 

Over the next 2 weeks, your child’s Hub is engaging with the introductory videos and the learning activities that provide a Big Picture understanding of the program and the GEM (Gratitude, Empathy & Mindfulness) key principles. 

Please ensure that you have conversations with your child about what they are learning during Ready to Learn incorporating The Resilience Project. 


From Newsletter Issue 1 (2 Feb 2023) 

Family Information